The Great Observatories are four big-ticket space telescopes – Spitzer, Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-ray Observatory – designed to view the universe in different and complementary wavelengths of light.

Launched into solar orbit on August 25, 2003, Spitzer was initially scheduled for a minimum 2.5-year primary mission. But the space telescope has lasted far beyond its expected lifetime, the US space agency said in a statement.

“In its 15 years of operations, Spitzer has opened our eyes to new ways of viewing the universe,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Spitzer’s discoveries extend from our own planetary backyard, to planets around other stars, to the far reaches of the universe. And by working in collaboration with NASA’s other Great Observatories, Spitzer has helped scientists gain a more complete picture of many cosmic phenomena,” he added.

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